The Wizards’ KD2DC hopes seem hopeless if you believe the rumors these days around the NBA. However, there is no turning back for the franchise at this point. They have been positioning themselves for almost two years for this moment.
So for the sake of this exercise, let’s assume the Wizards get a shot at selling themselves to KD. Yes, I know the saying about why you shouldn’t ‘assume’ (because you make an ‘A.. well, you know how it goes….). It wouldn’t be the first time. Anyway, let’s take a look at what the Wizards could sell to Kevin Durant.
- Scott Brooks. Yes. I know the ‘narrative.’ If Durant wanted to play for Brooks he would have never been fired in OKC. Are we sure about that? Let’s again go under the premise that Durant has wanted out of OKC for a while. Why would he fight for the coach if he wasn’t going to stick it out? Here is what Durant had to say about Brooks after he was hired by the Wizards.
“I’m happy for Scotty. I’m glad he’s back in the NBA. (Brooks is) a great coach. Somebody I really got to know and appreciate, so I’m happy for him.”
“(He’s) just a players’ coach. Someone who’s been there before as a player himself. He gets the most out of his players. It’s about his will, his energy, and that was just so contagious. He’s gonna do a great job in Washington.” (via The Daily Oklahoman.)
One other small matter: Durant wasn’t asked his opinion. GM Sam Presti reportedly didn’t consult with any players before pulling the trigger on the firing. That shouldn’t be surprising. He didn’t consult them when he traded James Harden, either. Now the question is, will Brooks’ presence be a game changer in the pursuit of Durant? I wouldn’t say that, but it doesn’t hurt the Wizards, either. He must be the first guy in the room IF they can get in the room with KD.
- John Wall, the Wizards’ all-star guard still has some growing to do as a pro, but no one can deny he gets teammates shots. Wall won’t forget about Durant for quarters at a time as Westbrook had a tendency to do at times. Wall has brought out the best in many teammates and also got several paid well too: Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, and Jared Dudley (about to make money in free agency).
Wall has said all the right things about potentially sharing the spotlight with KD here in DC, and hopefully he truly means it. The fastest way for the Wizards to take that next step is a Durant addition, especially in the East (see below).
- The East is “Winnable,” immediately. Add Durant to the roster, and the Wizards can win the East right away. Yes, Lebron is in the East still, but it doesn’t compare to the meat grinder of the Western Conference. A Wall, Durant, Beal big-three would rival the Cavs’ big-three of Lebron, Irving and Yes – I did the lowercase Love for effect.
A Durant arrival would help the Wizards attract other pieces and I would take Scott Brooks’ coaching chops over anyone else in the East right now. Give me Durant, Wall, Beal, Gortat, and Porter or Morris as a starting five and Oubre off the bench and figuring out the rest of the roster won’t be too hard.
- Ok. Yes – Finally, the hometown angle. In the last month, the ‘homecoming’ angle has become the biggest negative in all the reports of Durant’s free agency. This couldn’t have just occurred to KD right? I mean he could have poured cold water on this campaign two summers ago. He hasn’t, though. Sure, friends and family can be a distraction, but KD has been around the block enough to know he can get a personal assistant (one of his boys) to handle the ticket requests, etc.
Another thing about coming home: He will immediately be seen as a hero, win or lose. He could sign with the Celtics or Lakers, but the bar is much higher. Those teams have too many titles and Hall of Famers to count. The Wizards? Not so much.
There is no history of greatness since the Bullets’ of ’78 and the ’79 that lost in the Title Rround as they tried to repeat. Fans that have grown up on #SoWizards have not had much to cheer about. Durant giving a shot here would give him more equity in this town than he could ever imagine. Do we want to win a title? Of course. But if he came here and balled out and came up short, no one is going to crucify him for giving it a shot. There would just be appreciation for the hometown kid giving it his best effort.
I didn’t bother pointing out he could make more money off the court in a bigger city. He already makes plenty of cash off the court and his brand is only behind Lebron and maybe Steph Curry right now in the NBA.
Next time we will take a look at what the Wizards’ “Plan B” might be if Durant opts to stay in Oklahoma City, or worse- goes somewhere that’s not DC.